Nano, Running, and Living Life

November 1st marked the start of National Novel Writing Month! The task:

National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing on November 1. The goal is to write a 50,000-word (approximately 175-page) novel by 11:59:59 PM on November 30.

Valuing enthusiasm and perseverance over painstaking craft, NaNoWriMo is a novel-writing program for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved.

As you spend November writing, you can draw comfort from the fact that, all around the world, other National Novel Writing Month participants are going through the same joys and sorrows of producing the Great Frantic Novel. Wrimos meet throughout the month to offer encouragement, commiseration, and—when the thing is done—the kind of raucous celebrations that tend to frighten animals and small children.

In 2011, we had 256,618 participants and 36,843 of them crossed the 50K finish line by the midnight deadline, entering into the annals of NaNoWriMo superstardom forever. They started the month as auto mechanics, out-of-work actors, and middle school English teachers. They walked away novelists.


Sounds daunting, no? I have quite a few close friends who have joined in on the challenge. We have formed a writing group that meets officially every two weeks at a bangin coffee shop (though a few of us meet up unofficially when we feel the writing bug bite). For many of my friends, this is their first time attempting a novel, no less attempting Nano.

Thinking about on my own writing expirences…I have some advice for all my nano-ers out there…and get ready…cause I am going to metaphor it up.

1) Don’t over do it. The idea of writing every single day for thirty days is just insane. I ran my first 10k last weekend…and did I run the entire thing? Heck no. I walked when I needed to. Did it take away from the joy I felt when I crossed the finish line in my home-made dino hoodie? Heck no. You have to pace yourself. Otherwise, you will burn yourself out, start to hate writing, and produce complete crap. I write like I run. One day on and one day off.

2)There will be days you will fall. And maybe you won’t make your goal…but you went out there and tried…and next year, you’ll get that much closer. If this is what you love, never give up.

3) It’s the end of the year—live with no consequences. The best writing comes from life lived. Don’t lock yourself away this month…get out there and say YES. Don’t let insecurities and socially constructed morality hold you back. LIVE, LIVE, LIVE. You want something, go for it. You can worry about the consequences in 2013. Say yes to that persistent bad boy you know you shouldn’t go on a date with….get in your car and just drive and see where it takes you. Laugh. Live. Love. Don’t let the past or doubts or what others think hold you back. The BEST writers write what they know…and how can you learn anything if you shut out the world?

You have joined the author world…and if you let it, it will take you on an interesting journey.